Transitioning from undergraduate studies to a postgraduate program can be very stressful if you’re not sure what to expect. As a current master’s student in the Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Research (BMSR) MSc program at King’s, I hope to provide you with some information to make the transition a little less taxing.
In the BMSR program, the yearlong course is divided into two parts: three months of courses and nine months of labs/dissertation writing. I found first part of the program to be quite similar to undergraduate studies because I was given a schedule for my modules, regular assignments, and an exam timetable. Of course, the workload burden will be different for everyone depending on what you are used to, but I found it very doable and not overly stressful.
However, the second portion of the program is much different. As someone who never worked in a lab full-time before, I found it to be very different than attending regularly scheduled classes. I was required to spend each day in the lab from 9am until about 6pm, including some weekends, to carry out experiments and read relevant papers in my area of research. I am specifically focusing on Synthetic Lethality studies using CRISPR editing in cancer cell lines. I find this work to be very interesting, and while stressful at times, rewarding. Transitioning to this sort of daily work is much easier if you enjoy what you are working on, so make sure to find a lab that best suits your interests and skills.
King’s is an amazing place to do research because there are health-related advancements happening all the time. Furthermore, many of the labs are designed in such a way that you can easily collaborate with other researchers from outside of your lab group. I have found this helpful when I have a question about something that another individual has more experience working on. This type of environment allows for the progression of ideas and increases the desire for teamwork in the lab.
I cannot speak for any other division, but the researchers in the cancer division are friendly and flexible people who want to see their peers succeed. The lab group that I am a part of does amazing work using new techniques to target cancer cells. These are the types of advancements that are made a King’s. Since we are part of the Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, we have the opportunity to attend a number of talks given by talented individuals. I have found these seminars very interesting and I see them as a good way to stay up to date on what’s currently happening in the field. It’s truly wonderful to be part of this community where I feel like my work really does matter.